By KELLY DANIELS
Despite promises to have an area near their homes cleaned up, Vine Street residents say that’s not enough from Sonic.
Complaining to the Starkville Planning and Zoning Commission, residents of the neighborhood say the area close to the site local Sonic Chief Operating Officer Mark Welch is proposing to turn into a parking lot is now full of trash.
Excess traffic is a problem and littering spills out onto their street, they said.
Despite the residents’ concerns, the commission approved changing the vacant .17-acre property from a residential district to a buffer zone along with Welch’s plans for a parking lot, a fence and landscaping.
Hoping to move a dumpster onto the lot away from the Vine Street residents, Welch requested in September to have the area changed to a C-3 general business zone, but withdrew his application in order to apply for buffer zone status.
Representing Welch, attorney Greg Russell said the recent application was a compromise.
Residents of Vine Street disagreed.
“I’d rather see it maintained as a residential area,” said resident Curtis Bush Jr. “We just don’t want a buffer there.”
Some commission members, however, contend that while a buffer district will not deter traffic from Vine Street, the proposed site, once the location of dilapidated home now demolished, will improve.
“I believe if the dumpster were picked up, it will improve the situation,” Commissioner Dora Herring said.
“This is a great improvement to what you have now.”
The commission’s approval of the buffer zone for Sonic must be ratified by the Starkville Board of Aldermen before becoming legally binding.
Editor’s note: A followup story from Tuesday night’s Planning and Zoning Commission meeting will be published in Thursday’s edition of the Daily News.